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"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Moroni 10:4-5)

“Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.” (3 Nephi 1:13)

I was born in Salt Lake City and raised in the Mormon Church. I never doubted that the Gospel and the Book of Mormon were true. I always believed that Jesus Christ was my Savior and my friend.
However, as a married adult I lived in various parts of California and Illinois, and listened to newly baptized members of my church bearing testimony of The Book of Mormon with great emotion. I began to hunger to feel the same. I believed what they believed. What was different?
So at the age of twenty-seven, without telling anyone, I decided to accept Moroni’s challenge. I didn’t think I needed to ask if The Book of Mormon was true; I already thought it was. But after putting my two small children to bed, I began praying and humbly asking Heavenly Father that I might have my own personal witness of the truthfulness of the book.
Night after night I prayed diligently before reading The Book of Mormon. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. I felt increasingly spiritual and I began experiencing new understanding and knowledge through praying and reading with real intent. When I read the account of Helaman, my heart was troubled and sorrowful for the Nephites and the contention and evil that existed among them. I felt compassion and great respect for Helaman, Nephi, and Lehi, and the steadfastness of their constant pleas for the people to repent. I was overwhelmed with the courage of Alma during his missionary experiences, and the courage of Samuel the Lamanite prophesying and calling the people to repentance. I began feeling I was there!
When a day was set for Samuel’s believers to be put to death, my heart was pounding and I felt their fear, but also rejoiced in their faith. Tears dropped on my cheeks.
When I read Jesus’ words to them, “Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world,” my whole body was burning, and I received my own personal manifestation of many truths through the power of the Holy Ghost. I now knew, did not just believe, that Jesus is my Savior and King. I knew that The Book of Mormon is true.
I can still testify of that with great emotion, the emotion for which I had hungered. While reading the Book of Mormon, I have time and again been blessed with personal revelation, light, and understanding from my Father in Heaven.

"Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." (Ether 12:6)

As a teenager, I liked to speculate about religion with my parents. My general attitude about religion was skeptical; I felt it the responsibility of others to build my faith.
One day when I was nearly seventeen, I was leaning over the counter in the kitchen reading The LDS Church News which ran a cartoon strip that day depicting events from the Book of Ether in The Book of Mormon. I read the passage, “Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” That admonition struck a particularly responsive chord and I realized that I had things backward. Instead of demanding proof first, this scripture was telling me I should try to exercise faith first; the assurance would then come after my faith had been tried. One effect of reading this scripture was to make me generally more optimistic. It was the start of a conscious shift of direction, a willingness to try first and expect proof later.
The Book of Mormon itself stands for me as a persuasive artifact, because of the many witnesses who speak to the physical presence of the gold plates; the short time in which it was translated; and particularly the chiastic form in which much of The Book of Mormon is cast. This and the power with which it speaks to my soul all lead me to believe the book is everything Joseph Smith said it was.

“For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah . . . .” (First Nephi 1:4; see also Second Chronicles 36:11-16)

“. . . Jared came forth with his brother and their families . . . at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, and swore in his wrath that they should be scattered upon all the face of the earth; and according to the word of the Lord the people were scattered.” (Ether 1:33; see also Genesis 11:7-9)

I grew up in South Texas attending another Christian church. At the time, I knew nothing about the contents of The Book of Mormon. However, I was familiar with The Bible. It wasn’t until years later that I learned that The Book of Mormon account commences at the time that Zedekiah was king over Israel. Zedekiah is mentioned in the Bible record in the same time period that according to The Book of Mormon, Lehi left Jerusalem. Since both records spoke of Zedekiah, that was proof to me that Lehi was a real person. In 2 Chronicles Chapter 36, 2 Kings Chapters 15 and 24, and Jeremiah Chapter 7, Zedekiah is mentioned as the king over Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came and destroyed the city when Zedekiah rebelled against him. According to The Book of Mormon, Lehi and his family left just in time.

The Book of Mormon’s Book of Ether tells of a group living near the Tower of Babel who were led by Jared and his brother who petitioned the Lord to not confound their language and to lead them to another land, which He did. In see also Genesis Chapter 11, we find an account of the scattering of people who were building the tower, and the confounding of their language.

To me, these two connections – Lehi at the time of Zedekiah, and the Jaredites at the time of the Tower of Babel, were a practical proof that The Book of Mormon was a true historical account.

I like practical and also spiritual proofs. For me, the spiritual proof of the validity of The Book of Mormon is evident in the effect of every page upon me, and upon what I have done with my life — my values, my occupation, my wife and family, my eternal goals.

My logic is that if The Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith is a prophet. If Joseph is a prophet, then the church that he established must be the Lord’s Church. That is why I was baptized into His church.

"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Moroni 10:4-5)

I grew up in a home where the Gospel of Jesus Christ was taught and lived by example by my parents, five older siblings, and extended family. I remember on Sundays lying outside on a blanket next to my Mom as she read scriptures aloud to me. Mother and her siblings also liked gathering on Sundays to discuss the scriptures. As a child I was encouraged by my Sunday school teachers and parents to memorize many scriptures that have stayed with me all my life.
At the age of 15 while attending junior high school I chose to take “release time” from school for religious study called “Seminary.” Our teacher challenged each of us to read The Book of Mormon from cover to cover and to pray and ask Heavenly Father if it is true. That day we read together as a class in the Book of Mormon from Moroni 10:4-5.
This passage of scripture hit me hard. I accepted the challenge and read in my bed each night. It seemed to me that I felt happier each day and I found myself reading earlier in the evenings. My personal prayers became more intimate and I listened and felt the promptings of the still small voice of the Holy Ghost more noticeably. Even the discussions on The Book of Mormon in class became more meaningful to me because of my preparations the day before.
My personal testimony of the mission of Jesus Christ was strengthened as I read of Him visiting his followers in the Americas after His Resurrection. After finishing the last chapter of The Book of Moroni in The Book of Mormon, I knelt and prayed to ask if The Book of Mormon was true, and the feeling came over me that I had already been given that assurance. I never doubted it, nor doubted that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and restored his Gospel in its fullness to the earth.
It has been more than 45 years since those days in junior high school, but those feelings I felt at that time have been confirmed and enlarged many times over as I have read and reread The Book of Mormon all my life. I love feasting on the scriptures and I feel its influence in my life each day.

"Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed." (3 Nephi 18:21)

When asked about my Mormon Faith, my initial response is always the same. I passionately embrace the concept of an Eternal Family. Many of our beliefs are taken on faith. That is, I do not have a perfect knowledge of their validity, but I strongly believe them to be so. While I may not have a “perfect knowledge” of a family that lives on eternally, I do have such a knowledge of the temporal impact in my life.

The Book of Mormon teaches and reminds me to be a more loving, supportive and understanding spouse and parent. Love for my family is not just something in which I “believe,” but rather a tangible emotion I can grasp with certainty and conviction. Love for family drives my hope and bridles my selfishness. Family brings love, faith, joy and fulfillment into every aspect of my daily life.

While I may not have a perfect knowledge of Heaven, I am blessed to have a perfect knowledge of Family here on Earth. For me, it is everything.

"Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness." (2 Nephi 9: 51)

Years ago, I found my boys wanting to go to the mall to play arcade games with their hard-earned money. I was distraught thinking it was such a waste of both time and money. I was searching for a good reason to help them make a better choice. While reading my scriptures, I opened the Book of Mormon and glanced at the above verse.

Instantly, I felt this thought was an answer from heaven to my prayer. Later, the discussion with my boys laid the groundwork for helping them make worthwhile and satisfying choices, choices that made them feel good about themselves and gave them opportunities to use their money wisely.

This same scripture is one I remember when my choices seem unclear. When my direction is pointed to Christ and I am feasting “upon that which perisheth not,” my ability to make better choices increases and “I delight in fatness”, being filled with things that God would want me to do. That is when I truly feel God’s love and blessing in my life.

"Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." (Alma 26:27)

Many of us have moments in our lives when we wonder if we should stop trying to achieve a goal we once felt was extremely important. In The Book of Mormon, Ammon and the other three sons of Mosiah experienced those same feelings. They wanted more than anything to help the Lamanites come nearer to God. But the harder they tried, the more hostile the Lamanites became. At a moment of real discouragement, Ammon recounts, they heard the words of the Lord quoted above.

Ammon and his brothers were men of God, but they still became depressed because of the difficulties they were experiencing. I have always found it astonishing that Ammon used the word “comfort” to describe how the Lord helped them, because the Lord did not give them what we would call comfort today. He asked them to return to the hostile Lamanites and try again.

So they returned and got spit on, stoned, put in prison, and run out of town. But eventually they baptized thousands of these once hostile Lamanites. They had astounding success.

So when I am disappointed, or when I become discouraged, I think about Ammon and his brothers. I have never been stoned, or spit on, or run out of town. No one has ever attempted to murder me, as some of the Lamanites did to Ammon and his brothers. So I pray, and fast, as did Ammon and his brothers. And then I have confidence that the Lord will give me success as he did them.

I have experienced the benefits of prayer and fasting. I know that the Lord can give us help when we need it. I love The Book of Mormon. It has answers for the problems we face in our lives.

"Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world. And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come." (3 Nephi 11: 14-15)

When I was fourteen years old, I read The Book of Mormon from cover to cover for the first time. When I began, I wasn’t sure if this book was the word of God. I remember reading 3 Nephi, Chapter 11, which talks about Christ visiting the people on the American continent shortly after He was resurrected. In verse 14, I read the invitation that Christ gave to the people, and in verse 15, I read how the people responded to Christ’s invitation.
As I thought about these two verses, I got a good feeling inside. I could see in my mind the people coming to Christ, feeling His hands and feet, and knowing that He was there for them. I prayed to God and asked Him if Christ really did visit those people after His resurrection. God answered my prayer and made it known to me that His son did visit those people. I knew at that time that the Book of Mormon was the word of God.
Many years have passed since I was fourteen. I have read the Book of Mormon over and over since then. Every time I read it, I find new insights to help improve my life and come closer to God.

" . . . the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer. . . ." (Mosiah 18:30)

Because my father was a National Park Ranger, I spent part of my youth hiking and climbing in Grand Teton National Park. While there, I began reading the Bible each morning. I was completely overwhelmed by Christ’s teachings on the Sermon on the Mount, and realized that his instructions for us to love our enemies, to turn the other cheek, to do good to those who treat us unkindly, are truly divine. What would the world be like if we all followed such a high path! Later, I found the same teachings in the Book of Mormon.

As I read in Mosiah 18 about the small church that Alma founded in the wilderness, near the waters and forests of a place called Mormon, I realized that those ancient people felt the same way about their spiritual awakening in the wilderness as I did about my spiritual awakening in the Grand Tetons. The mountains, lakes, and rivers of the Tetons are very beautiful. Each year I try to hike to the spot and pray where I first felt the presence of Heavenly Father and learned for myself that the Book of Mormon is true.

"And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ. . . ." (Mosiah 4:3)

I came across this verse when I was looking up something in The Book of Mormon. I like it because it testifies of peace. It tells me that Jesus Christ is real. I can be whole again even after any mistake, no matter how big. All I have to do is truly ask God to forgive me, and if I have repented with all my heart then I will feel joy again. I will feel peace. To know that for myself is really great.

The Book of Mormon makes me feel good. It can make me feel better in a way that other things just can’t. I am grateful to have this in my life.